Coronavirus: if you need help

Coronavirus: what if I need help?

There is always help available in Buckingham.

To keep up to date with current and accurate information about Coronavirus Covid-19 itself, stick to trusted sources; visit the Government Coronavirus page and NHS coronavirus page which has information about the virus, symptoms, self-isolating, and travel. Sign Health offers daily updates on Coronavirus in British Sign Language.

If you are extremely clinically vulnerable and need help, please contact Buckinghamshire Council's special support service.

If you have symptoms of Coronavirus you should get tested as soon as possible. Remember not to visit a rapid testing site if you have symptoms of Coronavirus. You should use a PCR test instead. There is information about how to access these tests on the government website.

If you don't have symptoms of Coronavirus you can still have a Coronavirus test, using a rapid test.

Rapid testing can help reduce the number of Coronavirus cases by identifying people who are currently infected but aren't showing any symptoms. Rapid tests can be done at local testing sites including Buckingham Library, or picked up from testing sites or local chemists so that you can test yourself at home. Test results can be read on the device around half an hour after you take the test.

Anyone can now get rapid tests to use free from the NHS.

Being in lockdown with an abuser is dangerous. Whoever you are, and whoever your abuser is, there are many charities waiting to help you, with advice and support. Citizens Advice keeps a detailed list of different groups you could call.

It is legal to leave your home to escape domestic abuse, even during lockdown. If you need to leave, then don't wait. Get help and leave as soon as you can.

The Bucks Family Information Service (BFIS) website is the first port of call for support for families with children 0 to 19 years old (or 25 if your child has SEND - special educational needs or disabilities).

The BFIS can support our sign post families to help from food parcels to emergency respite in a crisis. To contact the team call 01296 383 293 or email

The phone line is open 9 to 5 Monday to Friday.


If you are in isolation or advised to stay at home you may be worried about how to get food and other essentials going forward. As a first option, always choose to ask someone you know personally and trust (or a business you trust) for help with food deliveries or prescriptions.

If you are able to afford food, but having difficulty getting a delivery slot, you can ask the Buckingham Support Network if a volunteer may be able to deliver essentials to your house.

If you are self-isolating and are concerned about opening the door for deliveries, downloadable self-isolating poster and high risk household poster are available.

If you think you may have Coronavirus and need medical help, please use the NHS 111 symptom checker service for help.

If you have questions for The Swan Practice about prescriptions or appointments, please check their website which is being kept up to date with the latest news.

Some people are considered at very high risk of severe illness if they catch Coronavirus (Covid-19) These people should have received a letter from the government highlighting them as vulnerable or extremely vulnerable. There are a number of other groups offering additional help and advice to extremely vulnerable people:

  • Prevention Matters offer help and advice
  • If you are concerned about an extremely vulnerable person who might need help, call Buckinghamshire Council on their a 24 hour phone number – 01296 383 204 – this number is specifically for calls relating to coronavirus only.
  • Buckinghamshire Adult Social Care team are also reaching out to vulnerable people they are aware of. If you know of someone who might need their help, call the Adult Social Care team on 01296 383 402.

new mental health helpline has been launched for those living in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. The helpline runs in a similar way to 111. People can call when they need to find out when and where to get help and to access support from mental health professionals.

Adults: 01865 904 997

Children and young people: 01865 904 998

When someone is seriously ill or injured, or in an acute confused state, call 999.

There are a number of other support options including, local support groups and CALM - which has a webchat option from 5pm until midnight 365 days a year.

There have been some changes to bus timetables due to Coronavirus. For updates on bus timetables you can check the Buckinghamshire Council buses page.

Remember, all bus and public transport users now need to wear a face mask.

Please make sure you wear a face mask in enclosed public places. Using a mask in shops, public transport and restaurants reduces the spread of Covid-19 infection, by people who are not aware they’re infected.

Even though we encourage everyone to wear masks, some people are not able to. Please respect that not all disabilities are visible and those not wearing masks may do so for good reasons.

The Hidden Disabilities charity has a sunflower scheme which allows people with hidden disabilities to obtain lanyards, wristbands or wallet cards that has a sunflower logo on. If you see someone wearing or using any of those items with the sunflower logo on, you may need to give them some additional support, help or a little more time.

Going into self-isolation can feel intimidating. We've talked about the practical side above, but staying mainly or totally at home for two weeks can still be part of a community effort. Mind has advice about looking after your mental health while in social isolation, and we have seen lots of ideas on social media for ways to keep entertained.

The Town Council may have had to postpone or cancel local events, but there are lots of wonderful group events continuing across social media platforms, from virtual Choirs to exercise classes and art projects. Share your efforts and make new connections with others trying the same things.

Two facebook groups are also advertising online events:

Video calling is a great way to get in touch with people, with several different platforms offering video calls for free - if you haven't tried them before, do give it a go.

Financial Problems?

Many people's lives have been impacted by Coronavirus and lockdown. If you are now having financial problems and need help and advice there are places you can turn for help.

If you are pregnant or have a young baby and need help with essential baby items, please ask your Midwife or healthcare professional about Baby Bundles.

As well as being able to refer families and individuals to Buckingham foodbank, Citizens' Advice can also help with any questions or difficulties you may have regarding:

  • Managing money
  • Debt
  • Benefits
  • Housing
  • Employment

If you are concerned about paying your bills, as a first step we recommend contacting your usual providers and asking what support they may be offering at this time.

Coronavirus Scams warning

Stay safe everyone, if you are concerned that you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud please contact: Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and contact your bank.

For advice call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 11 33


The long running Buckingham Food Bank are able to provide food to those in financial need through referral systems.

The Buckingham Foodbank is available for anyone in North Buckinghamshire struggling with food poverty. Please visit their website for information about how to apply for a food parcel.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

There are grants available from the government for self-employed people. Please check the government website for more information and how to apply.

Local advice

Buckinghamshire Business First, Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Buckinghamshire Council have been working on local programs to help support struggling local businesses.

Bucks Business First.

COVID-19 Business Resilience Fund page.

Buckinghamshire Council Business Support Hub.

New grants were made available when the second phase of New Restrictions started in November, including the Local Restrictions Support Grant. Bucks Additional Restrictions Grant, and Wet-Led Pubs Christmas Support Grant Get in touch with Buckinghamshire Council to find out if any new funds may be available that you could apply for.

Furlough Scheme

The furlough scheme has now been extended until 30th September 2021. Visit the government website for more information.

Are you at risk of homelessness or homeless right now?

Bucks Council homelessness team are able to help you with practical help and advice.

The Swan Community Hub runs a job club. The job club team can support you with refreshing IT skills, fine tuning CVs and recognising the skills you already have to help you get that perfect job.

Buckinghamshire Council may be able to help with emergency payments for individuals in financial need.

  • Helping Hands – Call 01296 531 151 to get support with food and energy bills over winter. The phone line is open Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5:30pm, Friday, 9am to 5pm. In an emergency, please call our out of hours team on 0800 999 7677.
  • Test and Trace Support Payments – If you are asked to self-isolate, you may be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500, depending on your personal circumstances. (See the link for full details.)
  • Local Emergency Support – If you live in Buckinghamshire, you may be able to apply for Local Emergency Support. This is intended to cover urgent short-term emergencies (i.e. no immediate food, no heating or lighting) through the use of food banks, food vouchers, and utility meter top-ups. Apply online or call us on 01296 382 414 during office hours. An out of hours service is also available by calling 0800 999 7677.

If you think you might be eligible, we recommend you apply for Universal Credit as soon as possible. We are hearing reports that phone lines are very busy and calling outside of peak times may help. Telephone: 0800 328 5644

Get everything you will need to apply ready for your application before you try and claim.

The government advice pages can tell you more about Universal Credit.

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